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Judge watches footage showing 11-year-old boy's fatal shooting at East Chicago park
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Judge watches footage showing 11-year-old boy's fatal shooting at East Chicago park

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CROWN POINT — A criminal court judge watched surveillance footage Tuesday showing an 11-year-old boy's fatal shooting during a tussle between several teenagers at an East Chicago park.

The video was submitted as evidence at a petition to let bail hearing Tuesday for Sherquell D. Magee, the 17-year-old boy jailed with no bond in the murder of Washington Elementary School student David Anderson.

Magee is accused of firing the stray bullet that killed Anderson during a fracas between two groups of teenagers May 5 at Nunez Park, court records state. The fifth-grader was transported to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and later transferred to the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, where he died May 6.

Magee is also charged with attempted murder and attempted battery with a deadly weapon in the fight.

Defense attorney John Cantrell requested May 22 Judge Samuel L. Cappas schedule a bond for Magee. He previously told The Times he believed Magee, a senior at East Chicago Central, was “jumped” at the park by several juveniles from a rival neighborhood. Magee fired the errant shot in self-defense, Cantrell said.

The surveillance footage showed a bare-chested teenager in a unbuttoned plaid dress shirt pointing a gun at another teenager while on the losing end of a fistfight. David Anderson, a small boy in black pants and a gray shirt, is seen on the footage watching the fight underneath the awning of a gazebo.

The gun is fired and David Anderson crumples to the ground as teenagers scatter in chaos.

The alleged target for the bullet was a 14-year-old boy. He testified Tuesday the fight was not about gangs, but instead part of an ongoing dispute between him and two other boys who were with Magee.

He said Magee, who he had never met before May 5, arrived at the park in a group of about six or seven boys. He said he called a friend to report there were “ops” at the park, meaning opponents or enemies.

His friend arrived, but the dispute was apparently settled. The boys said they were not there to fight, and one of them even suggested they play basketball, according to the boy's testimony.

The boy said one of Magee's friends then threatened to take his belt. The boy said he told the friend to step into the grass, and they then squared up into boxing stances.

The boys threw a couple of wild haymakers at the air before Magee joined the fight. The boy testified he punched Magee before he heard the gunshot. He claimed he did not see Magee with the gun, but he admitted it was Magee shown in the surveillance footage pointing the firearm.

Magee's friend testified. He claimed he did not remember many details from the fateful night, but he claimed the 14-year-old boy instigated the fight while he and his friends were trying to leave the park.

He denied seeing Magee with the gun. He testified he spoke with Magee the night of the shooting, but claimed he could not remember their conversation.

Cappas also heard testimony Tuesday from former East Chicago Detective Justin Orange, who has since been promoted to patrol sergeant, and Detective Miguel Pena.

Cantrell told Pena during cross-examination his client was right-handed, but the shooter fired the gun with his left hand. Pena said Magee could be ambidextrous.

Cappas told Cantrell and Lake County deputy prosecutors to file their briefs on bail by Oct. 30. He said he would issue a ruling by Nov. 6.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.

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